PERKINS – Heritage Hall held on to win a close game against Perkins-Tryon at McIlvain Field on Friday night.
The Demons lost 28-21.
Both teams entered the game undefeated with five wins each, but the Class 3A No. 1 Chargers were heavily favored to win.
Heritage Hall started off with the ball and fumbled the snap on their second play from scrimmage. However, the Demons were unable to capitalize on the opportunity with the ball in Chargers territory.
Once the Chargers were back on offense, they drove down the field, throwing short outlet passes to their running backs.
The No. 6 Demons were unable to tackle them behind the line of scrimmage, allowing them to run down the field. The Chargers capped it off with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Jobe Jackson to Joe Washington to put them on top 7-0, where the score stayed through the rest of the quarter.
P-T started the second quarter with the ball and Ayron Lawson ripped off a 43-yard yard run that put them inside the 20-yard line.
On fourth down, Austin Mages threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gannon McCutchen. McCutchen had no receptions on the season before the game.
With the score tied, Heritage Hall took over again and Jackson immediately threw a 56-yard pass to Phillip Smitherman, the state 3A leader in receptions.
Jackson then threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Freeman to put them up 14-7 with seven minutes left in the first half.
P-T punted the ball on their next drive, giving Heritage Hall the ball on their own 31-yard line with just under four minutes left in the half.
Mages punched it in from two yards out with only 30 seconds left, tying the score at 14.
The Demons (5-1, 3-1 District 3A-1) punted the ball with their first possession of the second half. A few plays into the drive, Jayden Williams ran it in from 13 yards out to put the Chargers back on top 21-14.
After another P-T punt, the Chargers took over on the Demons’ 47-yard line.
But just as the Demons’ defense seemed deflated, Cole Aldridge intercepted a deep pass, giving his team the ball on their own five-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
P-T punted the ball again, but the Demons’ defense came out on top again as Teegan Shepard intercepted a pass and returned it to the Chargers 30-yard line. The Demons started the drive still down 21-14, but the Demons turned it over on downs yet again.
On the first play of Heritage Hall’s next drive, they fumbled the ball and the Demons recovered it on the Chargers 26-yard line, their third turnover in three drives. The Demons finally converted on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Mages to Shepard to tie the game.
Heritage Hall (5-0, 3-0) returned on the next drive, marching down the field until they turned the ball over on downs deep in Demons’ territory. The Demons were driving down the field hoping for a touchdown late in the game, but Phillip Smitherman, now on defense for the Chargers, intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown, putting them on top 28-21 with 11 seconds remaining.
That would end the contest as Heritage Hall held on to win the game. P-T had only beaten the Chargers once in its history, in the 1986 2A playoffs.
The aftermath of the contest reflected a palpable mixture of sadness and pride for the Demons.
P-T coach Bruce Williams says that his team can take away positives from the experience.
“We know that we can play with the best,” Williams said. “I think going into this game we hoped that we could play with them, but now we’ve got the confidence that we can play with anybody.”
P-T plays Kingfisher on Thursday.